The assignee for this patent application is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention is directed to input systems; and more particularly, it is directed to touchscreen input systems.
"Electronic devices such as mobile phones (e.g., the iPhone.TM., Blackberry.TM. and Android.TM. phones), global positioning system (GPS) devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and computer systems (including desktop and mobile computers) may use touchscreens for input. Touchscreens allow users to use their finger (or, for example, a stylus) to press a displayed input option (such as an on-screen icon of a virtual keyboard). For example, mobile phones may display a numeric keypad on a touchscreen and a user may enter a phone number by pressing on the touchscreen at positions corresponding to numbers on the displayed numeric keypad. Devices such as PDAs may include a touchscreen with a displayed alpha-numeric keypad to receive text, numbers, etc. for entry of data into electronic appointment calendars, contacts, etc.
"While touchscreens provide convenience, they may be challenging to use if the displayed input options are too small for a particular user (this may especially be the case with smaller touchscreens used in portable electronic devices). For example, a user with large fingers or poor hand-eye coordination may have difficulty pressing a specific input option without the user's fingertip overlapping another input option. Because users have different sized fingers and press down with different levels of force (resulting in different contact areas on the touchscreen for different users) it may be difficult to design a touchscreen that is suitable to a variety of users."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Various embodiments of systems, methods, and computer-readable storage media for touchscreen input systems are disclosed. Touchscreens may be used to receive user input for a variety of electronic devices. The touchscreens may display a graphical user interface with one or more input options (such as icons) and may detect which input options are selected by a user by detecting a user's contact on the touchscreen. The user's contact with the touchscreen may result in a detectable contact area on the touchscreen. The system may detect a position of the contact area and make one or more biometric measurements of the contact area (e.g., measurements of the size/shape of the contact area). The position of the contact area may be correlated with the displayed input options to determine which input option the user selected. If the contact area is too large, it may overlap multiple displayed input options and may therefore be difficult to accurately correlate to the input option the user intended to select. If the contact area is overlapping multiple input options, the system may determine a new graphical user interface configuration to increase the size and/or spacing of the input options. Other reasons for increasing the size and/or spacing of the input options are also contemplated (e.g., if the user input is being received slowly from the user or if the user is making multiple input mistakes). In some embodiments, one or more of the input options may be removed to increase the space available to increase the size of the other input options. In some embodiments, the system may maintain a history of input option use to determine which input options to remove. In some embodiments, the new graphical user interface configuration may include smaller (and/or additional) input options (e.g., if the contact areas are detected as consistently within the displayed input options, if the user's input is faster than a specified threshold, if the user is not making multiple input mistakes, etc).
"In various embodiments, determining a new graphical user interface configuration may include the system detecting the position of the contact area corresponding to a user's input and making biometric measurements of the contact area to determine a size/shape of the contact area. In some embodiments, the system may average a history of biometric measurements of at least two past detected contact areas. Determining a second graphical user interface configuration may include determining positions, sizes, and/or spacings of the input options to better accommodate the detected contact areas.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 illustrates a touchscreen interface for a mobile phone, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 2 illustrates a touchscreen and contact areas of user input, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 3 illustrates a touchscreen with large contact areas of user input, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 4 illustrates a touchscreen with contact areas from a stylus, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 5 illustrates a touchscreen with a graphical user interface using larger input options, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 6 illustrates a touchscreen with a graphical user interface using larger input options and a smaller subset of input options, according to an embodiment.
"FIGS. 7a-b illustrate a graphical user interface accessible in multiple menus, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 8 illustrates a graphical user interface with smaller input options and additional input options, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 9a illustrates a graphical user interface for an electronic game, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 9b illustrates a graphical user interface for the electronic game using larger input options, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 10a illustrates a graphical user interface for a musical electronic device, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 10b illustrates a graphical user interface with smaller input options and additional input options, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 10c illustrates a graphical user interface with larger and fewer input options, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 11 illustrates a flowchart for determining a second graphical user interface configuration, according to an embodiment.
"FIG. 12 illustrates an electronic device, according to an embodiment.
"While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments are shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that drawings and detailed description thereto are not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed, but on the contrary, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims."
For more information, see this patent application: Cantrell, Christian T. Biometric Adjustments for Touchscreens. Filed
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